Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Physicians and Surgeons
Saint Luke’s Story
Luke wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church. He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him “our beloved physician.” His Gospel was probably written between 70 and 85 A.D.
Luke appears in Acts during Paul’s second journey, remains at Philippi for several years until Paul returns from his third journey, accompanies Paul to Jerusalem, and remains near him when he is imprisoned in Caesarea. During these two years, Luke had time to seek information and interview persons who had known Jesus. He accompanied Paul on the dangerous journey to Rome where he was a faithful companion.
Luke’s unique character may best be seen by the emphases of his Gospel, which has been given a number of subtitles:
1) The Gospel of Mercy
2) The Gospel of Universal Salvation
3) The Gospel of the Poor
4) The Gospel of Absolute Renunciation
5) The Gospel of Prayer and the Holy Spirit
6) The Gospel of Joy
(Relics: Rome, Italy; Padua, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; Thebes, Greece)
St Luke is believed to have died in Thebes, Greece during the latter part of the first century. Records then indicate the transfer of his remains to Constantinople in the fourth century. From here one theory suggests that his remains were transferred to Padua during the Iconoclastic persecutions in the 8th century. Documented proof of their presence in Padua surfaces by the year 1177 when a tomb is unearthed next to Santa Giustina bearing the symbols of St Luke. Papal recognition of these relics followed soon after.
Church of St Luke
*This church is located near an old cemetery southeast of the ancient citadel called the Cadmea.
*The original tomb of St Luke rests here.
*Recently a rib bone was taken from the body of St Luke in Padua, Italy and given to this church.
Abbazia Santa Giustina
(Abbey of Saint Justina)
Via Giuseppe Ferrari 2A
35123 Padova, Italy
*The body of St Luke rests within the left transept of this church. A recent study upon these relics was conducted at the request of Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua in 1998. This study determined that these relics are of an individual that would fit the description of St Luke.
*A decorated tomb within the right transept of this church is dedicated to St Matthias. Apart from the beautiful inscription upon the tomb which in Latin reads “Sors cecidit super Mathiam” the church provides no signage to support the presence of the apostle’s relics within the tomb. This is somewhat striking since directly across from his tomb the church explains in great detail the relics of St Luke. Some, nevertheless have argued that these relics of St Matthias were brought to Padua in the 8th century at about the same time as the arrival of St Luke’s relics. This tradition, however, conflicts with the even older tradition of St Helena who in the 4th century is said to have acquired the relics of St Matthias and distributed them to both Rome, Italy and Trier, Germany.
Cathedral of St Vitus
Hrad III. Nádvoří
119 00 Prague, Czech Republic
*A relic of the head of St Luke is preserved in this church. It was brought here by Charles IV in 1354. A recent study on this relic was conducted at the request of Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua in 1998. This study seems to suggest that the authentic relic of St Luke’s head is the one located here and not the one found in the Treasury Museum of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.
St Peter’s Basilica
*A silver reliquary bust within this museum is said to contain the head of St Luke. This reliquary dates back to the 14th century and the relic is said to have come from Constantinople. However, as noted above the authentic relic of St Luke’s head is most likely the one within the Cathedral of St Vitus.
Churches of Honor in Rome
Santi Luca e Martina (Saints Luke and Martina)
Via della Curia 2
*This church is located in the Roman Forum and it is dedicated to St Luke and St Martina.
The painting above the main altar is of St Luke painting the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church is not open often.
Savory Pumpkin Kolokithopita
3 cups pumpkin puree (see note)
2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for brushing, about a cup)
3 large onions (grated or diced very finely)
3/4 lb. feta cheese (crumbled)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 1/2 tbsp. mint (dried)
2 tbsp. bulgur wheat (uncooked, or rice)
To Taste: Salt
To Taste: pepper (freshly ground black)
1 lb. phyllo pastry sheets
Clean out the pumpkin seeds, slice into wedges and roast on a sheet pan in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly and then remove the skin with a sharp knife.
Cube the pumpkin flesh and place in a food mill or food processor to puree. Strain the pumpkin puree for about 15 minutes in a strainer lined with cheesecloth to extract most of the water.
In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until it is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the crumbled feta, eggs, mint, bulgur wheat (rice) and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the cooled onions and mix well.
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 14-inch round pan with olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the phyllo from the package and carefully unroll the sheets. Remove a single sheet from the stack and cover the remaining sheets with a clean towel.
Place the sheet of phyllo horizontally (landscape position) in front of you. Brush the sheet well with olive oil. Fold the sheet in half horizontally toward the top edge (the folded edge will be closest to you) and brush again with olive oil.
Leaving about an inch margin on the sides and bottom of the phyllo sheet, place a thin line of filling (about 2 1/2 tbsp.) along the bottom edge. Fold the sides in and begin to roll the bottom edge up as if to make a tube. The tube should be approximately an inch in diameter.
The key to a smooth roll is to brush the phyllo log with olive oil as you are rolling it upwards. That way the underside of the phyllo will also be moistened with the oil and it will be more pliable.
Beginning at the outer edges of the pan, place the tubes with their seam side down along the perimeter of the pan. Keep laying coils in a tight circle pattern while working your way in toward the center. Continue rolling until the pan is filled.
Bake the pita in a 350-degree oven for 50 minutes or until the phyllo is a nice golden brown color.
Sweet Pumpkin Kolokithopita
1/2 kilo of pumpkin, boiled, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts coarsely ground
1 cup golden raisin
1 beaten egg for brushing top of pita
Mix all the pumpkin, butter, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, walnuts, and raisins together
Prepare pastry, (see above)
Fill the pastry with mixture then cover with another layer of pastry, and brush the top layer with beaten egg
Bake in a 190C oven for about 40 minutes or until crispy and golden on top.
Serve cool with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
If you make a homemade pastry add one cup of very finely ground walnuts in it, just that little bit more interesting. Ready made frozen pastry needs to be rolled out even finer then it is.
I have a rule about using the fine filo from the freezer, I prefer to use it only for sweets as they do in Greece, and traditionalists will never use fine filo for savoury pita nor even a sweet one like this. I have not seen anyone yet make a proper pita in Greece with fine filo pastry; it is used only for sweets like baklava, galaktobouriko and the sweets that take syrup.